December 20 Sunday. Santos, Brazil
We disembarked here and caught a ship’s bus to the Sao Paulo airport where we were taking a flight to Rio de Janeiro. It was a two hour drive, much further than we thought it would be, but the ride was beautiful, up mountain after wooded mountain, with views down through the green valleys. The last hour was spent driving through the city of Sao Paulo itself, a very large industrial city. Where they spoke Portuguese and we didn’t.
Which turned out to be an almost problem as we tried to check in at the airport. We left several of our large bags in storage at the airport, but as we tried to check in for our flight, we learned (by way of a friendly passenger at the next check in who spoke English and our check-in person didn’t) that our luggage was much too heavy. We were panicked because our carry-on had our computer in it. We ended up pulling out an extra, empty duffle bag we travel with and repacking everything. In the end, we figured out that the check in person thought all of the luggage was mine instead of Greg’s, too. We probably didn’t really need to hold up the line while we were repacking, but since we couldn’t communicate......
The really scary part came next. Our tickets said we departed at gate 1. The sign said our flight left from Gate 5. And no one could speak English. I did my point and grunt job and got the answer 3 times that it was gate 5. As we listened for our flight to be called (in Portuguese of course), I thought I heard them call it and say that it was leaving from GATE 3!! Of course, I was wrong, because even though I knew the numbers from one to ten, I didn’t know the words they used in between. I check with gate 3 and was told (in English) that the flight was boarding at that very minute at GATE 1. Almost missed that flight, but someone was watching over us.